NEW YEAR HONOURS – CBE for 88 year old poet Dannie Abse

Thursday, 5th January 2012

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Published: 5 January 2012
by GERALD ISAAMAN

A GONG at 88 for Dannie Abse has thrilled admirers of the Welsh poet whose career took off during his days working as a doctor in a chest clinic in Soho.

His CBE for services to poetry and literature was somewhat reluctantly accepted.

“It’s a compliment, and one should always say thank you,” he said from his home in Golders Green. “Yes, I did think whether to accept it. But then I realised that Harold Pinter, far more left-wing than me, and others too have accepted honours.”

He added: “You start writing poetry as a gentle pursuit, but it can be tough in many ways too. You have to go into the darkness of oneself, as it were, to come back with some light.”

Dannie, whose poems have celebrated life in London and Wales, has a new collection on its way from Enitharmon Press.

Since he was taken to his first football match by his late brother, Leo, the solicitor turned Labour MP, it is linked to his love of the beautiful game. So he has called it In Extra Time.

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